MUM STYLE + BODEN

Ever since starting my DRESS LIKE A MUM campaign 3 years ago I have always expressed the importance of wearing what you want - of wearing what makes you happy and that makes you feel good. You are the most important person in your outfit and if you love it (whatever it is) you will in turn look great and feel more confident.

There seems to be so many pressures and opinions put onto women to dress in a certain way - whether that be dressing your age, to flatter your shape, dressing appropriately or like someone else. Fashion is a form of self expression, it allows you to project whatever image you want into the world and on the people you meet and it is up to you what this image is.

Historically mothers have got a bad reputation for dressing badly - for wearing boring outfits and not taking care of themselves. Three years ago when I started @dresslikeamum everything I found about mum style was negative - the media and internet was full of images and messages painting mum fashion as bad and something to avoid.

Terms like ‘mumsy’ which according to the Oxford Dictionary means ‘Giving an impression of dull domesticity; dowdy or unfashionable’ have been associated with mothers for too long. I’d like to think the way I and all the other mums I know dress - is in the exact opposite way to this description.

Dressing like a mum is now a positive thing, it is something to aspire to because dressing like a mum means wearing whatever you like and whatever makes you happy.

Boden are currently on a similar mission and have enlisted some brilliant women to help them.

MY OUTFIT

OUTFIT IDEAS FROM LA REDOUTE

Sometimes it is hard to decide what to wear. Often people (myself include) find themselves in an outfit rut - always ending up wearing the same thing just a different version of it. But, there are so many options and cool things to wear - that I encourage you to make an effort to not let this happen!

La Redoute has SO many great things in at the moment (some of which are on sale too). They have loads of reasonably priced, versatile pieces that can be dressed up and down and that might encourage you to branch out and have more fun with fashion - because after all that is what it's all about.

SKIRT + TOP

I LOVE this skirt - it is a summer, metallic pink fabric (such a good fabric to be). I've dressed it down with a grey short sleeve sweatshirt but it would also look good with a white t-shirt or a silk cami. 

I like the way this top mixes smart and casual - sequins and sweatshirts, on paper you might not expect this to work but on it really does. Same goes for pale pink suedette sliders - shouldn't work but do.

MADEMOISELLE R Short-Sleeved Sweatshirt £39 / R studio Pink Lamé Midi Skirt £29.40 (was £49) / R studio Mules with Crossover Straps £39

CHECK DRESS

This is an easy dress to wear and style. It works equally well worn to an office as it does to the pub. The buttons can be worn open or up to the top. When it gets cold it can be layered with a biker jacket or chunky knit.

atelier R Gingham Shirt Dress £41.40 (was £69) 

FRILLS & JEANS 

This is such a pretty, light and flattering shirt - i've teamed it with jeans but will also be wearing it under dungarees and tucked into a pleated skirt.

I love a statement shoe they have the ability to perk up an outfit - which is exactly what these do lips and glasses toed ones do.

R édition Ruffled Cotton Blouse £12.50 (was £25) / R studio Boyfriend Jeans £23.40 (£39) / MADEMOISELLE R Ballet Pumps with Patchwork Detail £21.00 (was £35) 

This post was kinding sponsored by La Redoute. I chose all of the outfits, wrote all of the words and wear all of these clothes in real life - not just for a blog post.

Photography @janelookerphotography

SUMMER HOLIDAY PACKING

Part of the fun for me of going on a Summer holiday is the outfits I get to wear.  I love digging out the summer clothes bag and getting a few new things to update it and planning what i'm going to wear in a climate that you can (hopefully) guarantee is going to be hot and sunny.

I always take a few (or more) swimming costumes and bikinis. There are so many different shapes and styles around at the moment but I look for ones with boob support. Since having children/breastfeeding/getting old... my breasts aren't so perky and shall I say self supporting as they used to be. I know to avoid styles that offer no support and that therefore give me 'flat tit' and go for slightly padded underwired ones instead.

These two are great - they have support in the cup, a detachable strap and are flattering on the mum-tum because they have Secret Slimming™ - an inner layer of control fabric that holds and flatters (and they really work!).

Secret Slimming™ Parrot Print Swimsuit £19.50 / Secret Slimming™ Tile Print Swimsuit £19.50

Generally for Summer holidays I pack 2 outfits per day plus a few extras tops/ bottoms for if I change my mind. I am aware that this possibly isn't the most efficient way of packing or that it isn't very excess baggage friendly but i've found that it works for me. I like to have options so I take tops and bottoms that can be dressed up or down, mixed and matched.

I love this pale blue crochet vest top (also availble in white) - it works equally well with a bright skirt as it does with denim cut offs.

Cotton Rich Textured Crochet Strap Vest Top £19.50 / Pleated A-Line Midi Skirt £25 / Denim Shorts £12.50

Denim shorts are a Summer holiday staple for me - these are good ones if you prefer a longer length. They are also flattering on waist as they come up higher.

This is a great, versatile and comfortable skirt. I love the colour and the elasticated waist band. 

Beach cover ups and kaftans are great things - perfect for mooching (an activity only done on holidays) around in pre or post the beach or for having lunch at the beach cafe. I love this snake skin print one - very chic and looks great with gold.

Animal Print Embellished Kaftan £29.50 / Coin Detailed Sandals £35

This black and white dress would be a great investment and would get worn a lot. It is slightly thicker fabric (linen) than I would wear on a super hot holiday but perfect for the UK or when it gets cooler in the evening.

Linen Blend Printed Tassel Tunic Dress £29.50 / Leather Eyelet Across Body Bag £79.00

This post was very kindly sponsored by Marks & Spencers - a shop I shop in and guenienly love!

Photography by @janelookerphotography

SUMMER (DRESSES) IN THE CITY

'A dress (also known as a frock or a gown) is a garment consisting of a skirt with an attached bodice (or a matching bodice giving the effect of a one-piece garment). It consists of a top piece that covers the torso and hangs down over the legs. A dress can be any one-piece garment containing a skirt of any length. Dresses can be formal or informal. In many cultures, dresses are more often worn by women and girls.The hemlines of dresses vary depending on the whims of fashion and the modesty or personal taste of the wearer' Wikipedia.

I love Summer dresses (I actually like dresses in all seasons), they are great for so many reasons - comfortable, flattering, fun, cool.... Plus there are so many different style dresses in the world - maxi, mini, wrap, body-con, beach, wedding - but as Wikipedia states the hemline depends on the wearer!

Here are 3 very different styled, versatile dresses that will hopefully inspire you to get your dress on this Summer:

PINK + LIPS

This dress is the cool side of pretty and could be worn to anything. I love the pale pink colour but also love the fun red lipstick print.  This is defiantely a twirling dress and due to the buttons up the front is breastfeeding friendly too.  

 

 

MADEMOISELLE R Lips Printed Short-Sleeved Dress £41.30 (was £59) / R studio Leather Sandals with Cross-Over Straps £49

ROMANTIC + FRENCH

Everytime I wear this dress I feel like cycling an old bicycle through a lavender field in central France - which I know is quite a specific image but it would be such a perfect occasion to wear this dress. Saying that this dress is easy to wear and versitele, it is soft and comfortable and perfect for warm weather.

R studio Romantic Embroidered Dress £29.40 (was £49) / Hand bag with wooden handles £39

DINNER + DISCO 

I tested this dress out in Ibiza last week - I look it from dinner to the dance floor and it was perfect. It is stretchy enough for dinner but disco enough for the dance floor and perfect for packing in a suitcase as it doesn't crease.

MADEMOISELLE R Lamé Dress £69

Photography @janelookerphotography 

This post was kinding sponsored by La Redoute who are a French company that have been around since 1837 and that I have been shopping at for a while (and so has my mum). They have great kids, mens and homeware too.

HAVANA BRIGHTS

If you are regular reader you know that I'm a colour lover. I believe that beige is a waste of space where a colour could be so when Marks & Spencer asked if I would like to review their Havana trend for their Style + Living section I jumped at the chance.

Yellow - the colour of happiness. Lots of people think that yellow won't suit them but there are so many different shades that it is likely you can find one that does. This dress has the power to change you and the people around you's mood.

Tiered Cuff Detail Long Sleeve Midi Dress £49.50

Blue - is an easy to wear colour and this top is a flattering style. Perfect for both the beach and town, jeans / shorts.

Pure Cotton Embroidered Sleeve Blouse £35

Tropical Flowers - if you aren't ready to go for full on brights or full on florals then this is a great jumpsuit. It is super comfortable and the wrap style is flattering - great for every day and for summer events.

“The most important thing with any outfit, whatever the shade, is that you like it, wear it with confidence and always accessorise with a big smile – because life is just too short to wear boring clothes.” Please read the full article here.

Photos by @janelookerphotography

DENIM JACKET SEASON

It's denim jacket season! I love a denim jacket - they are so useful, perfect for over summer dresses, with jeans, skirts - basically everything!

There are so many good ones around at the moment - different shapes/ styles, ripped ones, embroidered ones, coloured ones, tasseled ones, tight ones, baggy ones...

Here are a few of my favourites:

& Other Stories £65 / ZARA £49.99

& Other Stories £69 / MiH Jeans £162. 50 (was £325)

H&M £34.99 / Etré Celine £250

EVERYDAY OCCASION WEAR

I am not sure on the term 'occasion wear' because I believe that clothes shouldn't necessarily be saved for special occasions. All too often people have things in their wardrobes that they are saving for best or for a special occasion that never actually comes around.

I like to buy things that can work for all situations from the super smart to the everyday. With the right accessories and styling you can make dresses/outfits work for many different events, parties and everyday life.

This is a great dress - it is on-trend, super fun, makes a statement but isn't over the top. It would be perfect to wear on holiday but equally could be worn to a summer BBQ (+ denim jacket), wedding (+ heels and clutch) or to work (+ a smart jacket).

Straw Winged Tote Bag £29.50 / Cotton Blend Striped Skater Dress £69

There is a lot of lace around this season and this mint green is such a pretty colour. I've teamed it with white pointed flats (very in for summer) and a snakeskin clutch to make it look less traditional. The hem and sleeve length on this dress is really flattering so if you are looking for a pretty, simple, easy to wear summer dress then this is a good one.

Cotton Rich Floral Lace Swing Dress £69 / Leather Block Heel Slingback Flats £49.50 / Faux Leather Chain Shoulder Bag £19.50

This is another easy and very versatile dress - flattering, lightweight with broderie anglaise detailing and a flattering hem length. You could wear this anywhere from beach to wedding.

Pure Cotton Broderie Shift Dress £55 / Aztec Print Hand Embellished Clutch Bag with Strap £25

This post was kindly sponsored by Marks & Spencers. All the clothes, accessories, ideas and theories are entirely my own. 

EMBRACE A DRESS

Dresses are great because:

  1. They are an outfit in one
  2. If you get the right dress style it can be super flattering and make you feel awesome
  3. There is a suitable dress for every occasion from weddings to work to the playground 
  4. There is a suitable dress for all weathers from snow (knitted) to summer (light weight)
  5. Dresses can be dressed down eg. with trainers and a biker jacket or dressed up with heels and a clutch
  6. Dresses come in all different price ranges
  7. You can always find one to suit your shape / size / colouring

TOPSHOP always have a great selection of dresses and at the moment they have loads of different styles.

I LOVE fuchsia pink, it is my favourite colour so when I spotted this dress I had to have it. This would be a great dress to wear to a summer wedding. I've styled it with metallic (neutral) shoes and mirrored sunglasses and would pair it with a leopard print or metallic bag.

Frill Midi Pencil Dress £59.00

This dress is amazing, it isn't actually a style I have gone for before because at first glance I thought it looked too classic but the laced up back, asymmetrical hem and mix of florals gives it an edge and I love it. I recently took this dress on holiday with me and wore it out in the evening to dinner but it will also be great to wear in the UK too - I will wear it with a denim jacket and trainers.

Splice D Ring Midaxi Dress £59.00

This dress is so pretty, it is silk and lace and feels so luxurious on. Again perfect for a wedding or to a smart summer event. I've worn it with a sequin jacket and pointed flats but it would look stunning with super high heels and slick back hair. It is not the most forgiving style and you'll need some seam free underwear but on the right person will look amazing.

Satin Lace Dress £89.00

If you are in the mood for a tea dress then this one is great - the colour is amazing (but they also have it in blue), it is flattering and very easy to wear. The slit up the front and low V at the front stops it from being safe and instead makes it sexy! This is a great everyday dress - perfect for wearing to work in the summer or at weekends with cool flats or birkenstocks.

Red Spot Midi Tea Dress £49.00

So if you are looking for a dress this season then head to TOPSHOP and embrace them. And remember that if you like it try it, as you never know it might suit you and make you feel awesome!

This post has been kindly sponsored by TOPSHOP + Affiliate Window. As you know my love for TOPSHOP dresses is real and genuine as are all the words, dress choices and thoughts in this post.

AYE AYE CAPTIAN

The Nautical trend has been around for awhile now, in fact I think it is always around it just takes on different forms. Nautical is easy to wear because you can fully commit to it (sailor dress) or just nod to it (stripey top) and because it is fun.

This season the nautical trend has evolved - sleeves are like like sails, T-shirts have ropes attached to them and bags are like boats (kind of).

This top is amazing - i'm not sure how you could get more of a 'statement' sleeve, if i'm honest it might not be the most practical shaped sleeve for say eating / hosting / passing things but it looks very cool.

I'm wearing it with bright white culottes and (neutral) metallic flats but it would look cool with jeans or a pencil skirt too. This would be a great outfit for a wedding or a smart Spring event (and preferably one without children).

Pure Cotton Tiered Sleeve Bardot Top £39.50 / Button Detail Wide Leg Trousers £35

I love this outfit - it was so comfortable. It was easy to wear and is as comfortable as pajamas (and looking at it now slightly resembles them - which is fine btw).

Perfect for work or a smart / casual event. You could also team the trousers with a coloured jumper and/or denim or bomber jacket. The Flamingo slipper shoes need no explaining! 

Striped Tapered Leg Trousers £45 / Tie Side Eyelet Short Sleeve Jersey Top £25 / Flamingo Pumps with Insolia Flex® £35 / Faux Leather Across Body Bag £25

This skirt is incredible, look at the way it reflects the sunlight (that came out especially for this shot!). A silver skirt is easier to wear than you might think - it goes with every colour and can be dressed down (like I have here) and up with a black top and wedges. 

Metallic Pleated A-Line Midi Skirt £49.50 / Denim 2 Pocket Jacket £29.50

This post was kindly sponsored by Marks & Spencers. All nautical thoughts, ideas and clothes choices are entirely my own.

GOOD JEANS

I can't remember a time in my life when I haven't worn jeans. I have had purple Levis that I used to go to get from Kensington Market aged 16. I then progressed to flares - with dirty, wet, ripped bottoms; there was a phase of big baggy ones worn on my hips with a studded belt and platform trainers and then there were the skinnies that I was wary of at first but that stuck around for a while.

Right now the denim landscape is ruleless! Jeans come in all shapes and styles, they are cropped, straight, moms, boyfriends, ripped, frayed and everything in between. This is a good thing because jeans are great . They can be dressed up and down and it is currently acceptable to wear them (more or less) everywhere. They are durable, washable, flattering, look better with age, plus there is a style for everyone.

TOPSHOP for a long time has been my go to place for jeans. I like the quality of the denim and all the different styles they have that they constantly update and add to. 

Here are my current top 3 styles:

MOM

Coincidentally I have only started wearing Mom jeans since becoming a Mum - i'm not sure why this is but I do know that I like the high waist which has proved invaluable when bending down to play with the kids on the floor (no mum-bum). They are also great for hiding the mum-tum both things that you might not have considered if you are not a mother (or someone who bends down a lot or rolls on the floor!).

I love the patchwork panels on these, it makes them a bit more interesting and more of a statement than the plain versions.

Patchwork Panel Mom Jeans £50 / Dropped Hem Jacquard Blouse by Boutique £59

CROPPED WIDE LEGGED

I love these (and this whole outfit), they are such a useful style - perfect for the UK's not hot but not cold summer weather. Personally I would wear these with flat sandals or trainers, but they would look cool with a sequin top and pointed flats too.

Mid Blue Cropped Wide Leg Jeans £40 / 1972 Tshirt £15 / FALCON Buckle Sliders £39 / SWIFT Chunky Cateye Sunglasses £18

STRAIGHT

If you are still stuck in your skinnies but are tempted to break away then a straight leg is a great transition jean. They are flattering and easy to wear with all types of shoes and ankle boots. I like the simplicity of these and will wear them turned up as well as left to fray.

Blue Raw Hem Straight Leg Jeans £40 / Box Pleat Cold Shoulder Top £45

This post has been kindly sponsored by TOPSHOP + Affiliate Window. As you know my love for TOPSHOP (especially their jeans) is real and genuine as are all the words and thoughts in this post.

FOR THE LOVE OF FLATS

Above all fashion I like to be comfortable in what i'm wearing - you never know when you might need to run, jump or dance so it is always good have the correct footwear just in case. For that reason I tend to wear flat shoes more than heels. I do love the look of heels and wear them for special occasions and when i'm in the mood, but I find that I can't last that long before they start to hurt and I end up taking them off anyway; so more often than not I go straight for the flat option.

There are so many good colours and styles of flat shoe around at the moment - but my black pointed ballet flats are one of the most useful pair of shoes that I own, they have seen me from meetings to playgrounds to parties and go with everything.

Back in the day when I used to wear heels (and go out) more, I would ALWAYS take a pair of flats in my bag. I remember one Christmas my mum giving me these amazing shoes that folded in half. They were called Butterfly Twists and they were brilliant, I took them everywhere - in my handbag to nightclubs (oh so long ago!), on holiday and kept them in my desk drawer at work.

ISOBEL £40

Butterfly Twists are a shoe brand that has been around since 2009, they were founded by two brothers and two friends (guys) after one of them lost a bet in which they had to spend an evening wearing high heels. He sympathised with the pain these shoes caused the women who usually wore them and spotted a gap in the market for an alternative.  So without any prior knowledge in the women's footwear business the four friends set to create a company that did the opposite - make comfortable, versatile easy to wear (flat) shoes. 

CHLOE shoe £35

Their shoes are defiantely comfortable - the soles are soft and squashy as are the leather and fabrics they use. All the shoes come with a little bag to carry them in plus they are flexible so are perfect for when you are travelling or stashing in your hand bag/ nappy bag when you are out and about.

They come in loads of different designs and colours and they are fairly priced. If you are looking for some easy to wear ballet pumps then defiantely check them out (they have some new leopard print ones I love). 

 

Nothing looks better than a person having fun and if your shoes are hurting this won't be you - so my advice is always wear comfortable shoes (or at least take some with you that are!).

@butterflytwists

This post is kindly sponsored by Butterfly Twists. All thoughts and ideas are my own. My mum genuinely bought me a pair years ago that I loved! 

IT'S ALL ABOUT...GINGHAM

There is a lot of gingham around at the moment, and I think that because it hasn't been around for a while it is being embraced. You can hardly click on a Instagram fashion feed or open a magazine without being faced with the little check.

Personally I love gingham - even though it reminds me of my school uniform. There are loads of ways to wear it - from tops to trenches, if you want to wear gingham you can find it on everything at the moment.

Topshop are doing it particularly well - they even have a dedicated section for it. They have some great tops and this awesome, flattering, easy to wear skirt which also ticks the frill trend too.

Gingham is easy to wear and versatile because it goes with everything and can be dressed up at night or down for day.

Here are 3 ways to wear to wear this gingham skirt:

Double gingham - I love this outfit, it's like the clashing prints trend but using gingham (which is kind of a print) and is perfect for when the weather gets warmer, day or night.

Teamed with a pink silk shirt the skirt can be dressed up - good for work or a smarter occassion. I love these studded shoe-boots too - the perfect transition from winter boot to summer shoe.

Summer will come soon and when it does we can wear T-shirts and sandals (with a gingham skirt).

Gingham Ruffle Midi Skirt £39 /Asymmetric Gingham Frill Top £29 / He Loves Me Blouse by Boutique £60 / MADNESS Studded Boots £72

This post has been kindly sponsored by TOPSHOP + Affiliate Window. As you know my love for TOPSHOP is real and genuine as are all the words and thoughts in this post.

SPRING HAS SPRUNG

As I have mentioned before I am a fan of seasons. I like them all and I like when they change because it opens up a whole load of outfits, fashion, trends and colours. Spring is always a welcome season for fashion - light jackets, no socks, cropped trousers and bare legs.

To get you in the mood and to inspire your new season wardrobe here are a few Spring inspired outfit ideas and key pieces that will see you through to Summer time.

This is a great Winter to Spring transition outfit, not too flesh baring or summery but not too wintery and warm either.  These bright red cropped trousers are fun, flattering and cool. They look great with these backless loafers (perfect for Spring feet), but they would also look good dressed up with a wedged heel. I would also style them with a white trainer, Breton top or denim shirt for a more casual look.

This thin knit grey embellished top is another perfect Winter - Spring transition piece that could be worn with anything.

Cropped Wide Leg Trousers £45 / Embroidered Short Sleeve Jumper £35

This skirt is so pretty, the embroidery and detail on it makes it look and feel really premium. I would wear this dressed up to a wedding with a silk cami top, colourful heels and a cropped jacket or dressed down with a white t-shirt, trainers and a denim jacket.

I love this bag!!! Little red bags are a next season must have and this one is perfect - such a good colour red and the perfect cross-body bag size to fit the essentials.

Embroidered A-Line Skirt £49.50 / Faux Leather Twist Lock Bag £25

Big sleeves are another big trend for next season and this top is a good alternative to a shirt.

I have been looking for a pair of shoes like these for a while - being a flat shoe person I am always on the look out for something that is smart and chic but without a heel and these are great. When the sun goes in (which in the UK it will) I would wear them with black tights or fishnet socks.

If you are looking for a good all round pair of jeans then I would highly recommend these - high waisted, slightly cropped but with a straight leg - great with bare ankles. (AUTOGRAPH High Waist Slim Leg Jeans £39.50).

Leather Sling Back Flats £49.50 / Pure Cotton Striped Fluted Sleeve Blouse  £29.50

This post is kindly sponsored by Marks & Spencer. I genuinely would wear all of these clothes and totally believe in what I have written!

SPORTY STYLE!

I love clothes and fashion (which i'm sure you've guessed) - what I wear makes a big difference to my mood and I enjoy the process and challenge of working out what to wear to different places and occasions.

January is a time when promises are made, gyms are joined, resolutions and fitness targets are set and sportswear is purchased! When it comes to getting clothes to exercise in the key is to get something you like to wear, that is practical, comfortable, functional and that you feel good in.

Depending on how much you work out you'll be wearing these clothes at least once a week so it is always worth investing in some that fit you well. Sports clothes have to be technical and work, the correct clothes and shoes can make a huge difference to your performance and enjoyment. 

This padded running jacket is great - it is insulated enough to keep you warm but not too much so you overheat! I really like the thumb hole detail which is perfect for keeping your hands warm when out running.

Padded Running Jacket £45 / Lace Up Active Trainers with Insolia Flex® £25

The good thing about sportswear this season is that it is not limited to the gym, with the rise in popularity of the Athleisure trend it is now more than ever acceptable to wear these clothes throughout the day.

This is also true for sporty style accessories - this bag works just as well with a laptop or nappies in is as it does for yuor sports kit.

 

Faux Leather Gym Tote Bag £29.50 / Sport Hoody £25

Another reason that I believe in getting some exercise clothes you will love is that I believe they will motivate you to wear them and get fit. The best form of exercise is one that you enjoy doing and that makes you feel good inside and out.

Performance Graphite Print Leggings £25 / Silicon Water Bottle £8

This post is kindly sponsored by Marks & Spencer. I genuinely would wear all of these clothes and totally believe in what I have written!

LOOKING COOL, STAYING WARM

It's Winter and if the weather man has go it right snow is on its way. I'm big a fan of snow mainly because I am prepared and have the right clothes. Having lived in the mountains for over three years I know the importance and value that the correct footwear and clothes can be, and what a difference they make to your enjoyment of cold weather. 

I believe in investing in a few items of clothing that you will bring out every year, that will enable you to enjoy being out in the cold as supposed to dreading it. Here are three things I think you need to keep you warm this winter:

A Down Jacket - Down jackets are amazing at keeping you very warm. They have feathers inside (like a duvet) so are super cosy and almost impossible to be cold it.

Pyrenex HALNY COAT €280 (was €400) / Burton [ak] Baker Down Insulator Jacket £180

Fur line waterproof boots - never underestimate the comfort of having warm dry feet, it makes such a difference.

WOMEN’S COZY™ CARNIVAL BOOT £100 / Penelope Chilvers INCREDIBLE BOOT £389

Thermals -  Thermals no longer need to be hidden and worn underneath other clothes. This season there are so many cool and colorful ones that you will want to show off.

THE PROS OF ATHLEISURE (+ LK BENNETT)

"Athleisure is a trend in fashion in which clothing designed for workouts and other athletic activities is worn in other settings, such as during work, casual or social occasions." Wikipedia

There are many good things about the Athleisure trend and why you should embrace it, here are a few:

  • It is so comfortable
  • You can move in all directions at all times without having to worry about exposing yourself
  • The use of more technical fabrics mean the clothes are designed to be durable, washable and breathable
  • You'll feel fitter wearing it even if you haven't actually worked out (you will also be perceived as fitter by other people) 
  • It is stretchy 
  • If you do decide to spontaneously do some exercise (or if you simply need to run for a train) you will be ready
  • Life is busy and these clothes are good for busy people

LK Bennett have recently launched their Athleisure collection - and from personal experience I can tell you that these leggings are one of the most comfortable things i've ever worn. They are flattering, stylish and the wide waist band means that they fit smoothly around your middle. I'm wearing them with a very cool 2 tone cashmere jumper and white trainers, but they'd also look good with a t-shirt or shirt and biker or bomber jacket.

I think the key to perfecting the perfect Athleisure outfit it to team smart and casual / sporty and lux. For example leggings and cashmere or a floaty dress with trainers depending on what you are doing.  I am a big fan of wearing trainers and flat shoes with smart things, so this is a trend that is good for me.

 Mariel Mutli Print Saffiano Leather Shoulder Bag £165 / Ally Print Viscose Dress £350

The other thing I think is important with this trend is to wear it with confidence - you do not want to feel like you are in your gym clothes because you haven't had time to change you want to be wearing them for a reason and the reason is because they are the perfect outfit for your busy life!

Reilly White Leather Trainers £150 / Ditas Black Silk Viscose Dress £325

This post is kindly sponsored by LK Bennett. All thoughts, ideas and outfit choices are entirely my own.

DON'T GET STRESSED GETTING DRESSED THIS CHRISTMAS (#AD)

It is the start of the Christmas season - which means there are events to attend, presents to buy, shopping to do, discos to dance, food to eat and drinks to drink. And for all of this you will need some good outfits to wear! 

Embodying a positive approach to the season, I’ve partnered with Actimel to show how to #Staystrong when it comes to choosing what to wear. If you are not as prepared as this Santa in Training, then don't worry you still have time. 

Christmas dressing can be super fun and filled with sequins, glitter and glam but for some people the idea of getting party dressed can fill them with dread.

The key to any outfit is that you have to love it and feel good in it - obviously because you are the one wearing it, but the better you feel the more fun you are likely to have and that is essential to having an excellent Christmas.

Here are three outfit ideas that set you up to have the best time ever!

THE SEQUIN SKIRT

 

There are loads of great sequin skirts around at the moment, in different styles, colours and budgets so do not assume they aren't for you. They are easy to wear, can be styled in many different ways - with anything from a t-shirt to a velvet top and worn with both heels or flats.

As a sequin skirt is a statement piece so I tend to (but not always) go for a slightly plainer top.

& Other Stories £65 / Warehouse £39

THE JUMPSUIT

I am a massive fan of jumpsuits / playsuits - they are an easy outfit in one, they look cool and are excellent for dancing in. There are some great ones around at the moment and loads of different styles. If you are ever stuck with what to wear a jumpsuit is always a good option.

One tip for ladies who are a different size top and bottom and can't find one to fit, is to look for a matching top and trousers - this will give to illusion you are wearing a jumpsuit but you will be able to buy them in different sizes.

BOB by DOP £90 (was £180) / Jaeger £99 (was £199) 

THE STATEMENT PARTY DRESS

There are SO many good dresses around at the moment and so much sparkle - if you haven't already it is time to get involved!

The key is to find one you love and that you feel good in, because if you feel good you will look good too. Go for your favourite colour and look for a flattering style that will suit your shape.

My favourite colour is pink so I was pretty happy to find this one. 

Dress Next £75 / Bag Sarah Baily £145 / Shoes TOPSHOP £69

Zara £49.99 / River Island £45

This post is brought to you in association with Actimel. All thoughts, ideas and opinions are my own.
Actimel contains Vitamin B6 that contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. It also contains Vitamins B6 & D that contribute to the normal function of the immune system.

ELLE & VERY

Very - the British online retailer, recently created an exclusive pop-up shop in collaboration with ELLE Magazine in London.

I was invited to the ELLE Fashion Cupboard - which was a curated collection of pieces from the new V by Very Collection that had been handpicked by ELLE Magazine's Fashion Editors. I got to meet the ELLE team and talk fashion - which I obviously loved!

Being an large online retailer it was great to see an edit of the best bits, as well as having the opportunity to see Very's clothes in a shop environment and to be able to touch and try on.

There were so many nice things! My favourites included a sequin skirt, cold-shoulder knitted jumper and a very cool lightning bolt clutch bag.

V by Very Sequin Pencil Skirt £19 (was £32) / Clutch £15 (was £25) / Jumper £32

CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS

It's the 1st of December and time to start Christmas Shopping (or at least start to think about it). If you are stuck for ideas or even better if someone has asked you to suggest some things that you might like for Christmas give them the link to this blog post and send them to Marks & Spencer. 

My first suggestion is the classic Christmas gift Pyjamas. Until owning these pyjamas I have tended to sleep in an old t-shirt and pyjama bottoms however these have changed my PJ attitude - they are SO comfortable, super soft and cosy and the only thing I will be sleeping in from now on. 

Another classic gift are slippers - something that you'd rarely buy for yourself but when you do own a cosy pair will make you happy every time you put them on.

Pure Cotton Star Print Revere Collar Pyjamas £29.50 / Cork Mule Slippers £17.50

I love this jacket - so cosy and cool and good to note that although white fake fur jackets aren't always the most practical of colours/styles this one is washable. This dress is great too and would look equally good with summer sandals for a sunshine wedding in the summer time. 

Faux Fur Jacket £65 / Jacquard Print Lined Fit & Flare Dress £49.50

Statement earrings are in at the moment and these are great - because they are black they will go with everything and despite being on the large side are super light and comfortable.

 Diamanté Resin Circular Earrings £15

This is such a beautiful bomber that feels and looks really luxurious. It can be dressed up and down and worn for loads of different occasions - it would make a lady very happy at Christmas.

Embroidered Bird Bomber Jacket £65

This handbag is cool and is a great size - perfect for both work and play. Gloves are always good, especially as it is so cold - these are super cosy, great quality and very warm.  

Faux Leather Chunky Chain Shoulder Bag £35 / Leather Gloves £59

This post is kindly sponsored by Marks & Spencer. I genuinely would give and receive all of these gifts.

BRAND: ALICE MADE THIS

Alice Made This is a British jewellry and Men's accessories brand. Husband and wife team Alice and Ed founded the brand after spotting a gap in the market for beautiful, timeless, simple men's accessories and the brand grew from there. All the pieces are made in British factories using industrial processes that refine raw materials into precise, contemporary accessories. 

I am honored to be part of Alice Made This - The Women's Edit collaboration, where alongside five very inspiring and entrepreneurial women I have chosen my own, unique combination of Alice Made This pendants to create The DLAM Edit.  

I loved creating this necklace and have never worn a piece of jewellry that I have wanted to touch so much before - the pieces are so tactile.

My Edit has 3 components which can be worn all together, on their own, or in any double combination. This is such a great necklace - so simple but at the same time confident and perfect to go with literally everything.  

Alice and I went to Art College together and were re-united by chance in our local pub with our babies (realising we were now neighbours) so I believe this collaboration was fate!

Here is some more information on this brilliant brand and how it all came about:

NAME OF BRAND/COMPANY: Alice Made This

DATE IT WAS FOUNDED: 2012

BY WHOM IT WAS FOUNDED: Alice Walsh 

WHY WAS IT CREATED: When Alice and Ed were searching (and struggling to find) cufflinks for their wedding, they realised that there was a need to develop something fresh in the men's accessories space. Alice's experience is in product development, having worked for the likes of Tom Dixon, Conran and Habitat, travelling the world exploring manufacturing techniques and processes, and she always wanted to own her own business. This was the ideal opportunity. All our collections are made in Britain, using a different British factory and industrial process, and we refine raw materials into precise, timeless accessories. 

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BRAND: We work with eight different British factories for our collections, ranging from aeroplane part manufacturers and marine rope workers, to military armouries and a silversmith in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter. All of products are made in Britain by experts in their fields.

With a genuine respect and passion for British factories, Alice has managed to develop strong and creative working relationships with all of our makers to deliver clean and honest collections.

We introduced our first Women's collection earlier this year, including a range of geometric necklaces, and have launched The Women's Edits in the run up to Christmas to celebrate this. The variety of graphic pendants and material finishes has meant that our customers can wear them by day or by night, and find a piece that really compliments their style and personality. This is something we will be continuing to grow in 2017!

WHAT WE SHOULD BUY FROM YOU: All sorts for the men in your lives... a perfect Xmas winner ;)

Also if you Christmas shop like me you can do "one for me, one for you" approach and treat yourself to a cheeky necklace! 

 @alicemadethis / Photography by @JKF_MAN